Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Environmentally friendly plastic film of potato starch

08.04.2002


Plastic made of potato starch is a promising material for packaging, which is a big new application for starch plastics. This is shown in Åsa Rindlav-Westling’s doctoral dissertation, which was carried out in Paul Gatenholm’s research team in polymer technology at Chalmers University of Technology, Sweden.



Our huge quantities of refuse could be reduced and a greater proportion than today could be composted. Combustion of materials from oil, such as conventional plastics and fossil fuels, raise levels of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere, increasing the risk of the greenhouse effect and environmental problems. Starch polymers, extracted from potatoes, corn, and wheat, for instance, can be used as raw materials for biologically degradable plastics. Today the EU has a surplus of agricultural products, and a certain share could be used as raw materials in the production of plastics. At present disposable eating utensils and packaging chips are made from starch. A major new field of use for plastic films made of starch could be packaging. Starch films have excellent oxygen-barrier properties and in some cases can replace aluminium when it comes to protecting oxygen-sensitive foods.

Potato starch is produced from carbon dioxide and water with the help of energy from the sun when potatoes grow. Åsa Rindlav-Westling’s doctoral work deals with plastic films made from potato starch. Her work has involved studying starch-film structure, which affects its properties. By varying the conditions under which the film is produced, she has been able to control the structure. Slow formation of film results in starches that exhibit well-ordered films, and crystallinity is high. Film properties like strength and elasticity are affected by crystallinity.


The films exhibited excellent properties as oxygen barriers. In high humidity, however, both the barrier properties and the strength of the films deteriorated. This is due to softening caused by the penetration of moisture. A new theory is presented regarding how water is redistributed in the film after heating, thereby influencing properties. One way to prevent water from penetrating the film is to treat its surface, and experiments were made involving plasma treatment, in which a glass-like surface or a strongly water-repellent surface was formed. A further possibility is to add water-repellent substances to the film, which will deposit themselves on the surface. Proteins in the starch turned out to migrate to the surface, which thereby became more water-resistant.

The study shows that starch is an extremely promising material for use in biodegradable and renewable plastics. The knowledge yielded by this work will be of use the development of new and environmentally friendly plastics. The dissertation Crystallinity and Morphology of Starch Polymer of Films was publicly defended on March 15.

Jorun Fahle | alphagalileo

More articles from Ecology, The Environment and Conservation:

nachricht Litter is present throughout the world’s oceans: 1,220 species affected
27.03.2017 | Alfred-Wegener-Institut, Helmholtz-Zentrum für Polar- und Meeresforschung

nachricht International network connects experimental research in European waters
21.03.2017 | Leibniz-Institut für Gewässerökologie und Binnenfischerei (IGB)

All articles from Ecology, The Environment and Conservation >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: A Challenging European Research Project to Develop New Tiny Microscopes

The Institute of Semiconductor Technology and the Institute of Physical and Theoretical Chemistry, both members of the Laboratory for Emerging Nanometrology (LENA), at Technische Universität Braunschweig are partners in a new European research project entitled ChipScope, which aims to develop a completely new and extremely small optical microscope capable of observing the interior of living cells in real time. A consortium of 7 partners from 5 countries will tackle this issue with very ambitious objectives during a four-year research program.

To demonstrate the usefulness of this new scientific tool, at the end of the project the developed chip-sized microscope will be used to observe in real-time...

Im Focus: Giant Magnetic Fields in the Universe

Astronomers from Bonn and Tautenburg in Thuringia (Germany) used the 100-m radio telescope at Effelsberg to observe several galaxy clusters. At the edges of these large accumulations of dark matter, stellar systems (galaxies), hot gas, and charged particles, they found magnetic fields that are exceptionally ordered over distances of many million light years. This makes them the most extended magnetic fields in the universe known so far.

The results will be published on March 22 in the journal „Astronomy & Astrophysics“.

Galaxy clusters are the largest gravitationally bound structures in the universe. With a typical extent of about 10 million light years, i.e. 100 times the...

Im Focus: Tracing down linear ubiquitination

Researchers at the Goethe University Frankfurt, together with partners from the University of Tübingen in Germany and Queen Mary University as well as Francis Crick Institute from London (UK) have developed a novel technology to decipher the secret ubiquitin code.

Ubiquitin is a small protein that can be linked to other cellular proteins, thereby controlling and modulating their functions. The attachment occurs in many...

Im Focus: Perovskite edges can be tuned for optoelectronic performance

Layered 2D material improves efficiency for solar cells and LEDs

In the eternal search for next generation high-efficiency solar cells and LEDs, scientists at Los Alamos National Laboratory and their partners are creating...

Im Focus: Polymer-coated silicon nanosheets as alternative to graphene: A perfect team for nanoelectronics

Silicon nanosheets are thin, two-dimensional layers with exceptional optoelectronic properties very similar to those of graphene. Albeit, the nanosheets are less stable. Now researchers at the Technical University of Munich (TUM) have, for the first time ever, produced a composite material combining silicon nanosheets and a polymer that is both UV-resistant and easy to process. This brings the scientists a significant step closer to industrial applications like flexible displays and photosensors.

Silicon nanosheets are thin, two-dimensional layers with exceptional optoelectronic properties very similar to those of graphene. Albeit, the nanosheets are...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

International Land Use Symposium ILUS 2017: Call for Abstracts and Registration open

20.03.2017 | Event News

CONNECT 2017: International congress on connective tissue

14.03.2017 | Event News

ICTM Conference: Turbine Construction between Big Data and Additive Manufacturing

07.03.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

Researchers shoot for success with simulations of laser pulse-material interactions

29.03.2017 | Materials Sciences

Igniting a solar flare in the corona with lower-atmosphere kindling

29.03.2017 | Physics and Astronomy

As sea level rises, much of Honolulu and Waikiki vulnerable to groundwater inundation

29.03.2017 | Earth Sciences

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>